Worlds Largest Aircraft Graveyard: Tucson Arizona (USA)

The 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group located at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona is the biggest aircraft graveyard in the world.

“The Boneyard” as it is often called was created in 1946 to store some surplus DoD and navy planes but eventually grew to become the storage area for all out-of-service U.S. government aircraft.

It contains over 4000 aircraft including bombers, fighters like the F15 Eagle and F14 Tomcat, huge military transport planes like the C5a Galaxy, helicopters, jump jets as well as unique prototypes which never made it into service.

Interesting Facts about the Boneyard

  • Some aircraft are stored for possible reuse, metal reclamation and others to be stripped for spare parts eg: forAustralia’s F-111 strike aircraft
  • The climate at Tucson is friendly to aircraft with hard alkaline soil for them to move around on, low humidity and low rainfall. In fact the facility is so good at what it does that for every $1 the US government spends operating the facility, it saves or produces $11
  • Under the terms of the Strategic Arms Reduction talks over 300 B-52 bombers had their wings cut from the fuselage and laid out in the Boneyard as evidence for Soviet satellites passing overhead
  • The Boneyard doesn’t just store aircraft. It also stores inactive Titan intercontinental ballistic missiles designed to carry nuclear warheads

Visit the Boneyard

Public tours of the Boneyard are arranged by the adjacent Pima Air & Space Museum. At the time of writing this adult tickets were a mere $US 6.

Advance reservations are strongly recommended to guarantee seating. To make an AMARG tour reservation call PIMA and ask for the reservation desk.

You will need to check in at the Pima Air & Space Museum Store no later than 30 minutes prior to tour departure time or your reservation may be subject to cancellation. The tour bus boards at the Museum entrance.

Tours are given Monday through Friday (excluding US federal holidays) and last approximately one hour. Departure times are seasonal. Please call for current times.

More Information

Click on the image and Zoom in using “Birds Eye View” to view the planes really close up using Microsoft Maps

Tucson Arizona Airfraft Graveyard


52 comments on “Worlds Largest Aircraft Graveyard: Tucson Arizona (USA)

  1. rebecca on said:

    Hi, interesting find.
    Are you saying that the US stores aircraft in this “boneyard” then Australia buys some of these fighters for our national defence? I know we don’t have a huge defence budget, but buying planes from an American aircraft graveyard???

    EDITOR: Australia already has the F-111 strike aircraft – we get the spare parts from the boneyard at really cheap prices – which is great because when was the last time you heard about cheap Defence force equipment :-)

  2. Mark McGrouther on said:

    Thank you Neerav,

    I had seen a program on the boneyard years ago. What an incredible place. Nice to know that our F-111s can be kept in the air by using Boneyard ‘offcuts’.

    Cheers,
    Mark

  3. Vinay on said:

    Hi Neerav,

    Great Find.

    It is an amazing sight to see for an aircraft enthusiast like me. Do they allow camping overnight? I don’t think I would be able to digest the entire trip in one day :)

    Keep up the good work

    EDITOR: No you can’t camp there, only do the bus tour – good idea though :-)

  4. tigrs84 on said:

    That is way cool. I was in Tucson 4 months ago and I wish I knew about this then. I would have like to have gone on a tour for sure.

  5. Hah that’s a fun picture. Looks like a kid was playing in the dirt with some toy planes.

  6. becky on said:

    wow, that overhead photo is crazy. Never have I seen so many planes in one location… They almost look like they’re laid out in a certain way as “art”

  7. Kate B on said:

    If you’re looking for a much closer view have a look at Microsoft Maps aerial view of the boneyard:

    I’ve been there. It’s just crazy. The planes go on forever.

    EDITOR: Thanks a lot Kate. Microsoft Maps is much more detailed than Google Maps

    Shame it doesn’t allow embedding in other sites, instead I’ve added a screenshot to the article which people can click to see the Microsoft Maps aerial view

  8. amazing! this place looks ace!

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  10. This would be a neat place to visit! 4000 aircraft is a lot to see. Can you go inside any of the planes?

  11. I was just wondering if you can purchase any of the planes from the boneyard?

  12. Yeah that is a HUGE aircraft.

  13. It will quite be quite a visual to see so many aircrafts of all sizes around – def make it a pt. to see the facility if around..

  14. Roman Terry on said:

    I must say. I have found some of the most obscure, yet very intersting posts on “the Road Less Travelled” blog. We lived in Tucson for 10 years and this is the first I am hearing of this. Perhaps we’ll have to go back someday as tourists and see the other half of Tucson!

  15. Arizona Guy on said:

    That place takes forever to drive around. The kids love it though. “Look at the planes! look at the planes!”

  16. shafi on said:

    We are interested in purchase of some airplanes from the graveyard for setting up a museum of old planes in the Baltic republics.Please let us know the process or guide us to a company who can advise us to purchase for museum.

  17. It must be kind of eery to walk about there amongst all the retired aircraft.

  18. Uncle B on said:

    Love to make two seater, tandem style aluminum bodied commuter car like the “Carver” from all that scrap aluminum! Seems like a surplus to me, al it does is collect sun? Put it to good use Yankee Doodle! Build ultralight commuters from it, save on imported oil costs, and help the poor saps in the ‘burbs pay down their McMansion mortgages! go on, Bugs, Do it, it won’t hurt! Promise!

  19. Any of the planes in the graveyard available for sale? I would like to make a 747 into a house on our acreage.

    Jeff

  20. EUGENE URIEGAS on said:

    Is it possible to buy a plane without the wings attached so a house can be made from it to live in too include the tires to get it to a location. A nice 747 would be cool.

  21. Y M Kakar. on said:

    Wish I can go there and bring one here to install a nearest children park as a symbol.

  22. Michel Bedard on said:

    If I want to by a partial plane as a “souvenir” is it possible?
    What would be the cost if i stay in Canada.
    I was always interested in knowing.
    Tank you!

  23. James on said:

    I noticed that alot of people have asked if sections of the planes are for sale. Does anyone know the answer?

  24. Y M Kakar. on said:

    Hi, everyone there, I am back here, want to visit it again and again but I am so far away that I can just “THINK” see it. Thanks to the internet that we atleast can watch it sitting here. I suggest they should make some arrangements for the visitors as also the planes be brought to a standard queue as the planes at the moment seem to be standing in the fighting ground.

  25. Mark Davis on said:

    Hi. I live in Australia and I’m interested in buying an aircraft to remodel as a ‘unique’ home. If anyone can help me, it would be greatly appreciated.

  26. Heath Warburton on said:

    I see a lot of people have asked, but I do not see any answers. Can these planes be purchased? Please respond ASAP

    EDITOR: They cannot be bought. They’re owned by the government and US Armed Forces

  27. Antonio Bravo on said:

    do you know if in these graveyard still have parts like propellers or main weels of DC-6 transport aircraft to sell?
    and what are the aprox. prices?
    my pourpose is for relics in my living room

  28. Earl Seltzer on said:

    I am interested in buying an old transport plane or bomber to convert into a restaurant. Are any of these for sale for sale? Does not need to be airworthy.

  29. hadjafromana on said:

    Do any of these planes still Work? If so, are any for sale? is so, for how much?

  30. Mark Christophle on said:

    Man, that is really cool. I wonder what kind of clearance/reason you would need to be able to visit. Good luck on finding a plane Mark. That is really cool idea. If you make that happen, maybe I’ll come visit you when I’m in Australia some day.

  31. I need 2 ELT(Emergency Locator Transmitter) for A320

  32. I am looking for unseviceable wide body aircraft pax seat. i

  33. patrice on said:

    Hi
    I was in Davis Monthan Air Force base in November 2010. It’s an amazing place, I never saw so many planes in my life, you can do a tour bus in the base but you are not allowed to stop. The tour guide is a retired USAF pilot, so he knows what is talking about.

    Very very interesting you can see as well as somebody said old Titan missiles (Titan 1 and Titan 2) are stored there, south of Tucson there is the Titan missile site museum which is worth the trip.

  34. Rick Lovato on said:

    Please forward contact information regarding Military and Commercial airframes and engines.
    We recycle aircraft worldwide.

    Regards,
    Rick
    408-466-2606

  35. James Scott on said:

    I worked at the Tucson airport in 1950. B-29s stored from WW-2 were cocooned in plastic.
    The company received a contract from the US Air force to update over 200 of these B-29s.
    They were towed from Davis-Monthan AFB to the plant. They stripped off the plastic from the
    first B-29, and it was the WRONG airplane! The engines were replaced with overhauled ones, all
    rubber items were replaced (de-icing boots, tires, etc). I worked on the radios and radar sets.
    Then USAF realized that B-29s could not survive MIG attacks. We then worked on B-47 Strato-bombers built by Boeing in Wichita, KS. These were flown as shells. We installed the radars and bombing systems (nuclear). I installed electronics in the B-47 from the nose to the top of the tail fin.

    Jim

  36. James Scott on said:

    Another comment. Many airlines store airliners here. When they do not need the capacity during parts of the year, they fly them to various locations and store them until needed (or sold). Many airlines lease airplanes, and the lessor will store aircraft when they come on lease. Tucson is very popular for this because of the dryness.

    Jim

    EDITOR: thanks for that historical info James

  37. Sebastien on said:

    Does anyone know where I may find p-51 Mustang wings for sale or p-40 wings. I am trying to build a desk from them
    thamks

  38. patrice on said:

    Hi !
    There are No commercial airplanes stored in Davis Monthan AFB at all, it’s only for military airplanes. The biggest storage place and graveyard for commercial airliners is in Mojave airport at Mojave in California. I go there every November to visit it, you can tour the graveyard with a little minibus but you are not allowed to take any pictures anymore. I was there 3 weeks ago they are airliners from all over the world stored there, the were actualy cutting a few 747, it’s a very impressive place. As well the airport in Victorville stored commercial airplane, evergreen in Arizona as well but it’s very difficult to see anything there.

  39. patrice on said:

    Hi
    For those interesting, all kind of planes are there, Fighters, transportations, tankers…. but no more F14 Tomcat, they were all destroyed because the F14 was sold to many countries and some of them are not to friendly anymore, so to void spare parts being sold to those places they destroyed all of them, on the back you can see the B52s cut in parts to follow the peace treaty. As well some D21 drone are there (they were lunched from special Blackbird planes, but the program was cancelled rapidly due to all kinds of problems) and you can also see some Titan1 and Titan2 ex nuclear rockets. There is as well the YC14 (the YC15 is at Edwards AFB in California in front of the west gate of the base)those planes were used for the development of the famous C17 Globemaster.
    The site is divided in 2 parts, one side is the storage area and accross the bridge is the boneyard. I’m working on a website only on Davis Monthan Boneyard, I visited 2 times already, I have hundreds of pictures of this breathtaking place.

    EDITOR: lucky you, wish I could visit there but it’s far away from Australia.

  40. patrice on said:

    Sebastien

    Give a call to “planes of Fame” in Chino (California) they have P51 Mustang, they might know where to find parts.

  41. Veronica on said:

    Hi .I want to buy an aircraft. What I want is an old twin engine two seater used as a scout in vietnam.
    Can I purchase an aircraft from the bone yard?
    A lot of pilots could benefit from buying parts from a boneyard and building their own aircraft.

    V

  42. patrice on said:

    Veronica, I don’t think they sell any planes to civilians. Anyway most of the planes overthere are fighting planes or huge tankers. When they sell planes it’s only for recycling purposes and it’s not one but lots of them together and to demolition businesses. But it’s doesn’t cost anything to ask !

  43. Art Milton on said:

    USAF VC-54E Serial Number 44-9076 was bought by Desert Air Park August 1967. Was bought by Millardair of Toronto, Canada November 1977 and registered as C-GOIC. Bought again by Desert Air Park 1986 and stored in Western Scrapyard.
    IS THIS AIRCRAFT IN YOUR POSSESSION NOW? IF NOT, WHERE IS IT? US FAA RECORDS SAYS IT IS!

  44. Art Milton on said:

    IS C-GOIC owned by Desert Air Park? FAA RECORDS SHOWS IT IS.

  45. Bob McDonagh on said:

    Would you ‘loan’ an F9F Panther, F2H Banshee, and an F-94 – to be used as static displays @ a Childrens Aviation Center – Alternative (wind, solar and geo-gthermal) Energy – Children’s Aviation Center? Visit www.navalairestates.com – to view a diagram of the ‘Center’ (planned for SW Florida – and a second one, in Mid-Michgan.

    A ‘Flying Club’ will be formed to create financing of ‘The Center’. Thanks you, Bob McDonagh

  46. David Stokes on said:

    I flew as a B-52 radar navigator for 14 years and was wondering if there was a way to obtain a
    radar navigator tracking handle from the bomb-nav system as a souvenir?

  47. Donell Weekley on said:

    Instead of leaving the planes to rust and be of no use to anyone, why doesn’t the military sell these planes or parts of them to the public and put the money back into the govt? I ask because my grandson (10 yrs old) is very into airplanes and wants to be a pilot when he grows up. I thought it would be cool if we could get him just the cockpit of a plane to put in his back yard so he can practice/play with it and learn more about flying. Any chance of that? Makes sense to me. We’d be helping our govt AND my grandson. Thanks!

  48. Syed Sohail Hasani on said:

    I have been seeing your photoes on AIRLINERS.net.. They are amazing.

    What I am Looking For is to partner with someone to work on a project to build a

    HYBRID AIRSHIP—A BALOON holding an existing fuselage , with fanduct engines.

    Can someone help.Regards.

    Syed Sohail Hasani

  49. I was wondering if any of the planes in the graveyard are for sale we are opening a Airsoft arena and would like to have a plane in the arena. if they are not for sale would you be able to point me in the right direction
    thank for ur help
    DAVE

  50. John McAdoo Sevice Officer American Legion Post 755 Manteno, Illinois on said:

    Sir, our post is looking into a ww2 navy corsair fighter for our Legion Park- if you can be of help plese contact me. John

  51. Matthew Kenneth Rodriguez on said:

    Does anyone know how I might go about getting a old Sea Knight CH-46 helicopter fuselage?

  52. Margaret Arce on said:

    My dad cared for a B-25 all through the war and flew home on her. He always told me she went to this graveyard in Az. All I know is the plane was named “My Buddy”. Is there any way at all to find her just with that information – dad’s been gone a long time this is all I know. Thanks.

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